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How to conduct business research

A-Level: Business Studies

Title:  How to conduct business research
Description  Research is defined as human activity based on intellectual application in the investigation of matter. The primary aim for applied research is discovering, interpreting, and the development of methods and systems for the advancement of human knowledge on a wide variety of scientific matters of our world and the universe. Research can use the scientific method, but need not do so.
Word Count:  1250


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Definition 2
Research means investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery of new theories or laws and the discovery and interpretation of facts or revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts.
(http://www.c-f-c.com/supportdocs/dot_define.htm)

Why research

Function of research is to either create or test a theory. Research is the instrument used to test whether a theory is good or not. It is the method by which data is gathered to generate a theory or to test a theory. There are different ways of conducting research; however any method you use will be based on the systematic collection and analysis of data. The emphasis here is on the word systematic.
This means you have to collect your data in an ordered manner, with a purpose in mind, and following certain rules about your mode of collection
Primary research

Primary research involves getting original data directly about the product and market. Primary research data is data that did not exist before. It is designed to answer specific questions of interest to the business - for example:
What proportion of customers believes the level of customer service provided by the business is rated good or excellent?
What do customers think of a new version of a popular product?
To collect primary data a business must carry out field research. The main methods of field research are:
Face-to-face interviews – interviewers ask people on the street or on their doorstep a series of questions.
Telephone interviews - similar questions to face-to-face interviews, although often shorter.
Online surveys – using email or the Internet. This is an increasingly popular way of obtaining primary data and much less costly than face-to-face or telephone interviews.
Questionnaires – sent in the post (for example a customer feedback form sent to people who have recently bought a product or service).
Focus groups and consumer panels – a small group of people meet together with a “facilitator” who asks the panel to examine a product and then asked in depth questions. This method is often used when a business is planning to introduce a new product or brand name.
In most cases it is not possible to ask all existing or potential customers the questions that the business wants answering. Therefore, primary research makes use of surveys and sampling to obtain valid results.
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